Federalism in India

Topics: India, Federalism, United States Pages: 6 (1707 words) Published: July 9, 2013
Federalism in India


India is a big country characterized by cultural, regional, linguistic and geographical diversities. Such a diverse and vast country cannot be administered and ruled from a single centre. Historically, though India was not a federal state, its various regions enjoyed adequate autonomy from central rule. Keeping in view these factors in mind, the Constitution makers of India opted for the federal form of government. Though, the Government of India Act 1935 envisaged a federal set-up for India; federal provisions of the Act were not enforced. Thus, India became a federal polity with the Constitution of India.

Federalism is a system of governance in which the powers to legislate is in two levels as Central and subordinate levels.

Features of Federalism

Federalism in India has a strong bias towards the Union Government. Some unique features of federalism in India are: * There is no equality of state representation. Representation in the Parliament can vary widely from one state to another depending on a number of factors including demography and total land area. * No double citizenship, i.e. no separate citizenship for country and state. * The consent of a state is not required by the Parliament to alter its boundaries. * No state, except Jammu and Kashmir, can draw its own Constitution. * No state has the right to secede.

* No division of public services.

The main features of Federalism
* Provision for more than one form or government to act simultaneously on the same territory and on the same time. * Each government must have their own authority and spheres of power, though they may overlap. * Neither level of government, state or national can abolished the other.

Why Federalism is Important?
Federalism is important because of the following reasons:
* Because of diversity, there is a division in the power of federalism (to legislate in better manner). * For better Administration.
* Economic development in cultural diversity, linguistic groups, traditions, customs, natural resources. The concept is taken from U.S.A. in 1776 and at the time of U.S. government independence.

How Democracy is linked with Federalism?
In a democracy, the involvement of people at state level is more, as the people are free to choose their own representatives, for the people, of the people, by the people.

What makes India a Federal Country?

India is a vast country with numerous languages, religions and regions. The concept of federalism plays a vital role and the power sharing arrangements plays a crucial role in maintaining unity and harmony in the country. India got its independence in 1947 but it also resulted in painful partition that paved way to the formation of Pakistan. After independence, several princely states became a part of the country and the constitution declared India as a Union States. Despite the fact that the word federalism is not used or implied with Indian Union but it is largely based on the principles of federalism. All the above key features of federalism are well suited to the provisions of the Indian Constitution. The constitution of India provided two tiers of levels of governments “Central or Union Governments representing the Union of India and the state governments. Later, a third tier or level of federalism was formed and added in the forms of Panchayats and Municipalities. These three different tiers of governments enjoy separate jurisdictions and the constitution provides a three- fold distribution of legislative powers between the Union governments and the state governments. It comprises of three major lists and they are as follows: -

1. Union List: - This list includes subjects of national importance such as defence, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. They form as the part of Union list as we need a uniform policy on these important matters throughout the country. Union or Central...
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